Bad menstrual cramps. Labor can take 24 to 36 hours. Early on labor pains feel very much like bad menstrual cramps. It can take 12 to 18 hours to get into active labor. The contractions of active labor are intense and come every 3 to 5 minutes. You usually cannot talk or walk during an active labor contraction.
Muscle cramps. Contractions feel like muscle cramps that we often get in our calf region but instead it is in a woman's abdominal region. If you are concerned you may be having contractions then you need to call your OB physician.
Mild to severe. Labor contractions, aka labor pain, can be mild like a menstrual cramp to severe and excruciating. There are some natural things you can do to reduce the pain. If they fail, there medications and procedures that can help.
Colicky pain. Lower abdominal and/or lower back pain that gradually peaks within half a minute, lasts for a few seconds and then gradually resolves within half a minute. In labor, they come every 2-5 minutes generally getting more severe as labor progresses. Epidural anesthesia is a highly recommended technique to help women through labor pains; natural methods do not suffice for 99% of women. No need to suffer.